Sara and Mark were married in an intimate ceremony in New York City’s Central Park, but since they both grew up in the Washington DC area they decided to come back home when it was time to celebrate their marriage with family and friends.  They planned a low-key, family-reunion style post-wedding celebration full of DIY wedding details and fun lawn games, with DC-based photographer Cassidy DuHon on hand to capture the big party!

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From Sara:  Mark and I are both from the DC area – he’s from Maryland and I’m from Virginia – but we live in Brooklyn and have for the past 6 years.  When we were planning our wedding we didn’t want something super traditional and we ended up keeping it small and simple.  We had a tiny ceremony, immediate family only, in Central Park, New York City on November 8, 2008.  When we got back from our honeymoon, we realized that we clearly needed to celebrate with the rest of our friends and family so we set out to plan a reception in the DC area for the following spring.  On May 23, 2009, we had our belated wedding reception at Woodlawn Manor in Sandy Spring, Maryland.

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I’d say the themes of our party were low-key, DIY, and we wanted it to feel like a family reunion.  We had envisioned a farm-type setting so I set out scouring the net looking for good venues, and I stumbled upon Nole’s wedding pictures [Ed Note: that's me!] and fell in love with Woodlawn Manor.  What made the choice even sweeter was the fact that Woodlawn Manor is run by the Montgomery County Parks Department so it’s a VERY affordable alternative to renting a farmhouse.

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For food we knew we wanted to be hands on with creating the menu and luckily, we have friends of the family who run a catering company.  Working with Maryland Country Caterers, we were able to craft a menu that was almost like upscale backyard barbecue.

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I am lucky enough to have married into quite the baking family, so for dessert my mother, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law created several delicious cakes for people to choose from.  I didn’t want just one large cake, and I loved the fact that they were homemade.  It felt great to hear everyone complimenting the bakers on their handiwork throughout the evening too.  Mark also designed our invitations and wedding website.

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The morning of the party, Mark and I went to Whole Foods and bought flowers for our centerpieces.  Talk about last minute, right?  While everyone was showering, getting ready, and eating breakfast, I was in my room making flower arrangements and pruning.  We spent only about $100 on flowers, and I think they were gorgeous and perfect.  The tables that didn’t have flowers had bowls of fruit that doubled as take-aways for guests and decoration.

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We loved that our venue allowed for people to have many different experiences throughout the party – guests could eat, drink, play bocce ball or croquet, dance, and chat and visit with friends and family all over the grounds of the venue.

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Mark and I put together a huge playlist of Motown hits for the tunes of the party, which really got everyone off their feet.  We also designed buttons with lyrics to some of our favorite Motown hits and sprinkled them all over everyone’s table.  They were a big hit.

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Congratulations Sara and Mark, and thank you so much for sharing your post-wedding party with us!

The following DC-area vendors contributed to Sara and Mark’s post-wedding celebration:

Venue: Woodlawn Manor
Catering and Rentals: Maryland Country Caterers

Don’t forget to visit our DC area wedding vendor guide for a full list of professionals!

Photo Credit: Cassidy DuHon

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